Want to follow in Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook footsteps? Here's a start

Even if you recently considered quitting Facebook, or you already have, you might still wonder: How does Mark Zuckerburg do it?

You've heard all the rumors: He's a hacker, a dropout, and a naive or immature geek. But, he's also created something that has changed the world forever. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook, reportedly dreamed up by Zuckerberg and his friends in a Harvard dorm room in 2004, has spread far beyond its humble roots in a startling, short time period. Brands such as AT&T, Ford Motor Company and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion all advertised on Facebook during the first four months of 2010, according to Internet analytics firm comScore.

Facebook has even challenged Internet mega-players such as Yahoo and Google--a jaw-dropping accomplishment. In Decemeber 2009, TechCrunch predicted that Facebook could make a billion dollars in 2010. Information was leaked last month that Facebook's revenue in 2009 reached between $700 million and $800 million dollars, higher than some of the most generous predictions.

So criticisms and controversy aside, Mark Zuckerberg has done something from which most of us can learn a thing or two. What's the secret to Zuckerberg's success?
I've narrowed down three main objectives Zuckerberg has accomplished that can work for any entrepreneur:

1. Do what you love. Believe it or not, this is a key element in being a successful entrepreneur. It goes without saying: you aren't going to make a fortune or stick with something for a long time if you don't love it. One might say Zuckerberg's success began before he even created Facebook--it began with his love for programming and dreaming big. You may have heard that while still in high school, Zuckerberg and a friend, Adam D'Angelo, built a Winamp plug-in that would learn your music listening habits and build playlists based on your taste. (Sound familiar?) Zuckerber and D'Angelo refused offers to sell their idea and work for major companies such as AOL and Microsoft, instead deciding to pursue their education.

2. Think long term. Nothing great can be achieved without a concept. If there is anything that an entrepreneur can take away from Mark Zuckerberg, it's that massive success is most likely to be accomplished when you think about the big picture. In 2007, Zuckerberg was criticized for not following suit with other social networking sites and selling out for one-lump sum. Instead, he's spent time honing in on what makes people come back to Facebook-and now he's richer for it. "I'm here to build something for the long term. Anything else is a distraction," Zuckerberg said.

3. Stay connected and have a message.
After a few pretty intense weeks of controversy over Facebook's privacy features (and the spreading of harsh gossip about Facebook's CEO), Zuckerberg responded by writing an articulate and insightful op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post on May 24 to address to the concerns of Facebook users. By shedding light on the intentions of Facebook's creators, users instantly become more trusting of the site and its privacy concerns. Zukerberg and his team have always stated that the goal of Facebook is to promote a more open and connected world and believe that the sharing of information will lead to the world working in a better, more productive way. It's important to communicate with your supporters, and to keep lines of communication open.

He wrote: "Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected." He later adds, "And we will keep focused on achieving our mission of giving people the power to share."

Sure, you might be skeptical. Quite a few tech pundits remain so. But let's not forget the big picture: It's not every day that a social networking website goes from zero to 500 million users in six years.

It's also not too common that a 25-year-old entrepreneur, whose personal net worth is approximately $4 billion, leads his company to generate $800 million dollars in revenue in just one year.
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